Sunday, August 07, 2011

LIE FOR ME - Karen Young - Free Book

I've read two of Karen Young's books and loved them, so I wanted to interview her about this new one. Welcome, Karen. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
That would be Christian fiction with mystery and romantic elements, right?  It’s a long story.  I’ll try to condense it.  My career, which began in the secular market, had from the beginning mystery and romance elements.  After writing 35 books, I decided to retire.  But after a few months of idleness, I realized retirement could wait.  A writer friend happened to comment, “Karen, don’t retire.  You should be writing Christian fiction.”  As it happened, my spiritual life had been renewed as I became more active in my church.  So I came up with a plot idea that I felt would work well as Christian fiction, which was MISSING MAX, a story of a family in crisis when their child is kidnapped.  But my agent was unenthusiastic. In spite of that, I still continued to develop the plot.  One afternoon, Debbie Macomber, a friend of thirty years, called me out of the blue and said she knew of a publisher who was looking for an experienced author to write Christian fiction.  Would I allow her to suggest my name?  So, within a few weeks, I had a three-book contract.  Oddly, the first book wasn’t MISSING MAX.  Instead, the sales people chose BLOOD BAYOU, a romantic suspense.  So I was off and running on an entirely new career in the CBA.  I believe God’s hand set in motion the circumstances that ended with me writing books containing a faith journey.  I can only say I’m humbly grateful.  

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
That is really hard to say.  I’m basically an optimistic person.  I have three wonderful daughters with good husbands and five grandsons who give me much joy.  I have loads of friends.  I have a challenging and satisfying career.  Sprinkled throughout my years of marriage and the ups and downs of a busy life, I had many days that stand out as happy.  But to name any single day, I don’t think I can.

How has being published changed your life?
It’s hard to remember since I have been published since 1981.  J But I’ll try.  I often say that I didn’t choose writing as a career, but that it chose me.  My husband’s career took us to many places with many changes for our family.  As a result of those frequent moves, there seemed no time for me to build a career, so I started writing—almost as a lark.  It gave me something to do when our daughters entered new schools and my husband got involved in a new job and after setting up a new household I had time on my hands.  I sent that first manuscript off to a publisher without knowing anything about the business, never having met a writer, let alone an editor or an agent.  About six weeks later, I was astonished to get a call from an editor with an offer to buy that book.  What a change it made.  From that day forward, I threw myself into writing the next book…and the next…and the next.   So no matter where we wound up, geographically speaking, I had my typewriter (and then my word processor) and the next deadline.  I honestly think we could have wound up in Timbuctoo and I would have barely noticed.

What are you reading right now?
I’m in a book club, so some of the following are selections I probably never would have chosen otherwise:  The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo; People of the Book; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society; The Reaper; The Sentry.  (All on my Kindle.)

What is your current work in progress?
Title: UNSPOKEN.  My agent suggested I come up with a very southern story (and since I’m very southern, that was easy).  A young woman who endured a childhood watching her father abuse her mother returns to Holyfield, Mississippi, when her mother develops Alzheimer’s Disease.  Only to be plunged into the mystery of her father’s death years before.  Complicating things is the man she once thought she’d marry before her father put a stop to their youthful romance.  He’s now a cop and wants to reopen the case of her father’s death.  She wants everything about her past to stay buried…unspoken as it were.

What would be your dream vacation?
A trip to China and Japan.  Early in my marriage I lived in Japan for three years.  I would love to go back…and then onto China and Hong Kong.  I’m fascinated with Asian cultures.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Maybe because I’ve lived in so many places, I have chosen various settings—Houston, Boston, Kansas, Florida, etc., etc.  But I don’t think I have strong feeling for settings as some authors do.  When I’m coming up with the plot of a story, it usually doesn’t matter much where it happens…unless it’s Louisiana.  Now that place comes alive in my books!   

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Oh, this is really hard.  Certainly no movie star.  Or media person.  Can it be a couple?   I’d like to spend an evening with Laura and George W. Bush.  Living in Texas, I am aware that they are “down-home” folks who often issue casual invitations to their home to their many friends.  I’d love to get an invitation from them.  I admire Laura’s passion for books and her zeal to push literacy issues.  Also, I thought she was a terrific First Lady.  I admire them as parents, too, who have influenced their daughters to pursue worthwhile goals as they’ve matured.  I also admire their dignity in the face of much hostility. 

I so agree with you on that assessment. And I'd love to join you visiting with them. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Gardening.  I just wish we weren’t having such a horrible drought in Houston because it makes working in my yard dangerously hot.  But, you know what?  Having a deadline always looming makes it difficult to have a truly time-consuming hobby such as quilting or art or travel.  Take pottery making, for example.  I’ve always wanted to try my hand at that.  Also, I’m polishing up my skills on the piano.  It’s amazing how rusty you get when you haven’t practiced much in years, but then, once you sit down and start playing again, it all comes back.  Sort of like riding a bicycle.  (But I’m not taking biking up, thank you.)

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I tend to procrastinate.  I also know, from many years writing and knowing many authors, that this is common.  But knowing I have a set number of pages to write each day and simply sitting down and getting busy doing it is something I struggle with.  I will go to extreme ends to avoid getting started.  I will clean out the garage, I will rearrange my pantry, I will go to the supermarket, I will…well, you get the idea.  If you’d asked what is the easiest part of writing, I would have said, “Thinking up the plot!”  That’s fun.  It’s developing the story that’s hard. J

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Read, read, read, especially in the genre in which you’ve decided you want to publish.  Know the market.  Attend writer’s meetings in your area.  Get to know other writers.  Get in a brainstorming group.  I regret that I did not brainstorm for the first 32 books I wrote.  Once I got into a good brainstorming group, I was astonished to discover that other sets of eyes and other authors’ creativity spotted pitfalls I’d overlooked (and would later struggle with) and added much to my original plots.  I built a career without much of the above.  Today, an aspiring writer has opportunities and tools that weren’t available in 1981.

Tell us about the featured book.
Lauren Holloway's ex-fiance, Tucker Kane, is without an alibi when his ex-wife is murdered. Tucker claims to have been alone at a job site at the time, but when he becomes the prime suspect in the murder, he asks Lauren to say he was with her. When she refuses to lie for him, Tucker suddenly vanishes without a trace.  She’s left devastated and questioning her ability to judge character.  Months later, she sees him at an antique fair. He worries that Lauren will reveal his carefully constructed life in hiding, so he forces himself into her hotel room and tells her that he's trying to find evidence to clear his name.  Should she trust him again?  After a series of incidents, Lauren becomes convinced of his innocence and tries to help him.  But in doing so, the two of them uncover a labyrinth of evil and deceit, putting her very life and that of his young daughter in danger.

I can hardly wait to read it. Please give us the first page of the book.  
            The golden retriever was agitated from the moment Tucker Kane let him out of the company truck, dashing up to the old house and back, whining and carrying on.  But as Tucker was busy maneuvering the cart up onto the porch, he didn’t pay much attention.  Besides, the weather was deteriorating.  Intermittent flashes of lightning meant rain any minute.  He wanted to be done before it started. 
            A porch light would have helped.  He thought he’d left it on when he dropped off his tools earlier that day, but he’d been intent on making a meeting with a city building inspector at another site, one who hadn’t shown up, to his disgust.  Had the man forgotten it?
The heavy metal contraption was awkward to handle, but he finally managed to get it up the steps using a couple of old planks as a ramp.   He needed the cart to transfer the wood paneling from the house to the truck.  Bracing against the bars of the cart, he took his keys from his pocket.
Suddenly, fierce lightning flashed and thunder boomed.  Wincing, he squinted in the dark, trying to find the right key.  At his feet, Buddy crowded him, frantically pacing and whining.  Some dogs were nervous in a storm, but Buddy wasn’t...usually.  Still, he was clearly agitated over something, but Tucker didn’t have time to do anything about it now.
“Buddy!  Calm down,” he commanded.  “Sit.”
The dog instantly did as he was told, but every nerve quivered.  Watching Tucker jangling keys, he literally vibrated with anxiety. 
            “What’s the problem, Buddy?  You think we’ll find a ghost inside this old house?”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you so much, Karen, for dropping by my blog again.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Jo said...

What a great interview! I thoroughly enjoyed it and getting to know about Karen especially since she is a "new to me" author. I definitely have added "Life For Me" to my wish list.


holdenj said...

Looks like a great book! I enjoyed the interview and thought it was neat she has been friends for so long with Debbie Macomber, another author I read frequently! It's a small world.
Julie in MN

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

angela from KY

Marjorie said...

I live in Ontario, Canada.
After reading the "tease", I would love to read the whole book.
A storyline that is my kind of a read.
Thanks for the chance to win this book.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Molly said...

I would love a chance to win this book please!

Molly from NC

Jan Cline said...

Love Karen's answers! Especially mentioning spending an evening with the Bush's! That is very cool. Also, I relate to the procrastination thing. I do better with a deadline. Although I dont know how you can be a procrastinator and still pump out so many books!
Jan from Washington State

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Melanie Ski said...

Yeah a new author to me! I live in OH and would love to win the book
melanieinoh2003 at yahoo dot com

Rebecca said...

This looks like an amazing book. I would love to read this.

I am from Oklahoma.


Karen Young said...

Hi, Lena, thank you for giving me an opportunity to tap into your cyber-world. And to the readers who have responded, thank you, too. It's a thrill to know so many of you are interested in LIE FOR ME.

Alison said...

Karen, your website is beautiful with those Texas bluebonnets. Will your next book be set in Texas?

Karen Yount said...

The book I'm current working on is set in Mississippi. I'm a Mississippi native and love writing plots that dramatize the deep south and it's unique culture. Tentatively titled UNSPOKEN

Cindy W. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy W. said...

Enjoyed the interview. Karen, where did you live in Japan? When I was a young girl my dad was stationed at Tachikawa AFB which wasn't too far away from Tokyo. We lived there for 3 1/2 years. I too would love to go back for a visit.

Lie For Me sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

I live in Auburn, Indiana,

Cindy W.


Marianne said...

Karen Young's novels sound like some i need to check out. Thanks again, Lena for highlighting and bringing to my attention a new author for me! You do such amazing things in interviews. Thanks Karen and Lena for the great giveaway. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Karen Young said...

I lived in Misawa AB, Japan, which is very close to the area that was hit by the devastating tsunami lately. It broke my heart to see so many displaced people. This area has climate similar to New England, so it's chilly (to me as a southerner). Very beautiful and mountainous.

wmmahaney said...

As always I love the interview. I have not read any of Karen Young's books, but the interview and description of her plots has me wanting to read them.

Wendy in Michigan

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anne Payne said...

I love finding new authors and Karen is a new one for me. Not sure how I missed her books, but that will be rectified right away! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. It sounds very intriguing and I love suspense.

Anne, rural NC

Kristie said...

Your book sounds great! Very suspenseful. I can't wait to read it. I guess that I did not think about writing being a portable career. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Patsy said...

This book sounds really interesting. Would love to read it.
From: Mississippi


Courtney said...

This sounds like a great book, I love a little romantic mystery!! Thanks for the chance to win it!

Courtney from WA state
kcmelone at yahoo dot com

Ingrid said...

I loved the interview ad would like to be entered in your contest.
Thank you

Robyn said...

Totally loved Missing Max. Missed the second book you mentioned, but I'll be hunting it down now. Can't wait to see what perils and intrigue you've woven into this book.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

peachykath said...

This book sounds really interesting. I loved the interview and find that I have similar interests as Karen Young. I love to work in the garden and would love to travel to Asia at some point. Please enter me in the drawing for this book. Thank you.

Katherine from Northern California

gahome2mom said...

Congratulations on having five grandsons. I hope you will have a granddaughter or two in the near future. Thanks. gahome2mom/at/gmail/dot/com

Edwina said...

I would love to read this book - it sounds fascinating!



misskallie2000 said...

Wow, Lie for me sounds like a great mystery, suspense and romance story. Can't wait to
read. Loved the interview and have added to my wish list which is growing by leaps and bounds. lol
Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

I live in the state of Georgia

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Ms. Mona said...

Hi Karen, you said you belong to a book club and one of the books were"People of the book" have you read it yet? I read it a few weeks ago (my daughter won it on here) and OMG what a was so good.....hope to win this one.....thanks, Ms. Mona/Ohio

dancealert said...

Great interview. Sounds like a great book! Please enter me.
Brenda from Michigan.

dancealert at aol dot com

Judy said...

What an interesting interview Karen. You are a new author to me so I must ask. Did you ever publish a book with the title "Missing Max"? Just curious.

You mentioned your good friend Debbie Macomber. I love her books!

Also, have you read "People of the Book" yet? If you have, did you like it? I've read it and I couldn't get it out of my mind for days! What an impact it had on me.

I would love to win a copy of "Lie For Me". This book sounds like a great read. Thanks for this giveaway.

Judy from Kendallville, Indiana

Emma said...

"Lie For Me" sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.thanks for the chance.PA.

Mark said...

I'd love to win it
Ohio here

Steven said...

Looks like a great book. Good interview.
Steve from Indiana.

Patty said...

Love a good mystery! Please enter me


Katie McCurdy said...

This looks like a good book! I've seen Karen Young around before, but haven't had a chance to read anything by her.

Thanks for the chance to win!

~ Katie from Florida

Bakersdozen said...

Karen's books sound very interesting. I would love to read them. I live in S. CA.

barbjan10 said...

Hi Karen, it's nice to meet you on Lena's blog. I haven't know about your writings before. What an interesting made me take a second look at what the story is all about. I'd like to read it. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win it. We have some cloudy weather and only a few drops of rain today in Arlington, TX. We're praying for rain.

A Christian Sister,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

LoveMy2Dogs said...

Loved the interview. This book sounds awesome.

I am from Ohio.


Megan said...

Wow, Karen-both "Lie for Me" and "Unspoken" sound great! I enjoyed both Blood Bayou and Missing Max. Thanks for doing this interview, I enjoyed hearing more about Karen...I actually think I've read some of your secular titles and didn't realize you were the same author!

Megan (PA)